Hillary Clinton’s move to use a private email server during her tenure as President Obama’s secretary of state, and then to delete these emails, has led to legal questions about why she chose not to use a traditional ‘state.gov’ email system, as well as allegations of pay-to-play politics involving political favours in exchange for cash.
John Hackett, the former director of Information Programs & Services, a document management entity handling State Department records, has accused former secretary State Hillary Clinton’s staff of “culling out” some 30,000 of her ‘personal’ emails without following National Archives procedure, Judicial Watch has reported, citing Hackett’s recent testimony as part of a Judicial Watch case against the US State Department.
A transcript of Hackett’s deposition under oath showed that he had requested information about how the secretary of state’s team had removed 30,000 emails from the 50,000-60,000 total emails on record.
“We wanted to know what criteria they used. The standard from the National Archives is very strict. If there…were mixed records, that would be considered a federal record. If it was [a] mixed record and mentioned a discussion, that would be – under the narrow National Archives rules, it would be considered a federal record,” Hackett said.
The official said he raised his concerns about following archive standards with Patrick Kennedy, who served as undersecretary of state for management under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as Richard Visek, from the State Department’s office of the legal adviser. According to Hackett, Kennedy promised to ask for the guidelines, but never got back to him.
Hackett also said that he felt there may have been “inappropriate” interference by government officials of the 296 emails related to the 2012 Benghazi attack which were made available to Congress during her testimony in 2014.
Hackett served at Information Programs and Services between April 2013 and March 2016. Among its other duties, the agency is tasked with handling Freedom of Information Act requests, archiving, retiring and declassifying State Department documents. In 2015, Hillary Clinton confirmed that she and her staff had deleted over 30,000 emails of a “personal and private” nature. The FBI later managed to recover over 17,000 of the emails and found that many were work-related.
The Clinton email saga, also known as ’emailgate’, has followed Clinton for many years. In 2017, materials handed over to Judicial Watch by the State Department revealed examples of what appeared to be ‘pay-to-play’ politicis, in which Clinton would receive generous donations to the Clinton Foundation from private and state donors in exchange for government appointments, policy positions, and government contracts.